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Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 



Virginia continues to grapple with 
the ever-growing threats posed by 
invasive species. Natural resource man- 
agers must, of necessity, focus their at- 
tention on the plants, animals, and 
insects causing the most severe dam- 
age — including disease carriers, such as 
the fungus that attacked the stately 
American chestnut. Alien species disrupt 
natural systems at great economic and 
ecological cost to the state. In fact, some 
estimates put Virginia losses at over $1 
billion annually due to these unwanted 
"come heres." 

You may remember that after exotic 
zebra mussels were found in a Virginia 
quarry site in 2002, DGIF biologists con- 
ducted a first-ever, successful eradication 
of that critter — which has a track record 
of causing millions of dollars of damage 
to public water supply and treatment fa- 
cilities. 

State agencies under the Secretary 
of Natural Resources and the Secretary 
of Agriculture and Forestry currently 
manage or monitor a wide range of inva- 
sive species. Specifically under the mi- 
croscope are the exotics that have made 
headlines over the past ten years or so: 
the zebra mussel, Northern snakehead 
fish, Chinese mitten crab, marsh in- 
truder phragmites, tree-of-heaven, emer- 
ald ash borer, and the rapa whelk. But 
others remain on the watch list and new 
threats are emerging. 

The Natural Heritage Program at 
DCR, along with other conservation 
partners, convened a workshop last fall 
to teach control methods to those on the 
front lines battling invasive plants: 
foresters, master naturalists, and others. 
Training continues. 

Prevention is still the most effective 
strategy for fighting invasives. Many 



■■■ 



times, the simple act of washing off 
equipment, boots, and clothing after use 
on the water and in the field can go a 
long way toward preventing the spread of 
unknown "hitchhikers" during the next 
trip. I encourage all hunters, anglers, 
boaters, and outdoors men and women 
to find out more and to take an active 
role in halting the further spread of ex- 
otics that take such a terrible toll on na- 
tive wildlife and their habitats. Thinking 
back on the devastating loss of the Amer- 
ican chestnut reminds me just how seri- 
ous the consequences can be. 

To learn more about invasive plants, 
go to: www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_ 
heritage. Information about some of the 
most invasive wild animals and fish in 
the state can be found on our website at: 
www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife. 




The Northern snakehead has established 
a presence in the Potomac watershed. 
Shown here, Director Bob Duncan holds 
a specimen captured during a recent 
monitoring trip. Just how this invasive 
fish will impact the health of native 
fisheries in area rivers remains to be 
seen. 






Mission Statement 

To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; 
To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard 
the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons 
and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an 
awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia s Wildlife and Natural Resources 
VOLUME 71 NUMBER 10 



Commonwealth of Virginia 
Bob McDonnell, Governor 

HUNTING & FISHING 

LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

Douglas W. Domenech 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 



Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Linda Caruso, Church Road 
Brent Clarke, Fairfax 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Leon Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 



Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Tom Guess, Staff Contributor 



Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 



Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is publishe. 
monthly by the Virginia Department of Game anc 
Inland Fisheries. Send all subscription orders ani 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 747/ 
Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other corr 
munications concerning this publication to Virgini 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Stree 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rate 
are $12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.0 
per each back issue, subject to availability. Out-c 
country rate is $24.95 for one year and must be pai 
in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts less tha 
$5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710-936' 
POSTMASTER: Please send all address changes t 
Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 7477, Red Oak, low 
51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid at Rid 
mond, Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2010 by the Virginia Department of Gam 
and Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries sha 
afford to all persons an equal access to Departmer 
programs and facilities without regard to race, colo 
religion, national origin, disability, sex, or age. If yo 
believe that you have been discriminated against i 
any program, activity or facility, please write to: Vi 
ginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie 
ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broad Street 
P. O. Box 11104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general inform 
tional purposes only and every effort has been mac 
to ensure its accuracy. The information containe 
herein does not serve as a legal representation of fis 
and wildlife laws or regulations. The Virginia Di 
partment of Game and Inland Fisheries does not a 
sume responsibility for any change in date 
regulations, or information that may occur after pul 
lication." 




TENTS 




About the cover: 
The long rifle flintlock was a 
weapon of choice during 
colonial times. Here, craftsman 
Lowell Haarer loads the gun by 
using a ramrod to force 
powder and ball down the 
barrel. See story on page 4. 
Photo ©Dwight Dyke 



Crafting a Connection 
to History 

by Clarke C. Jones 
Travel back in time through the 
superb handiwork of a long rifle 
maker. 

A Passion to Serve 

by Gail Brown 
Virginians are well served by search 
and rescue teams, who respond to 
that ever heart-wrenching phone call. 




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Magazine 
Subscriptions 

For subscriptions 

and address changes 

call 

1-800-710-9369 

12 issues for $12.95 

24 issues for $23.95 






Briery The Rest of The Year 

by David Hart 
Off-season angling on this south-central 
Virginia lake should entice even the most 
skeptic fisherman. 

Love Them Weeds! 

by Cristina Santiestevan 
If we're going to bring back the bobwhite, 
we need to embrace the concept of messy. 

Mockhorn Island Memories 

by Curtis J. Badger 
On a swath of land sandwiched between the 
mainland and barrier islands are remnants 
of our glamorous hunting and fishing past. 

Life Beyond Video Games 

by Marc N. McGlade 
Consider these tips on how to get your 
youngster interested in the great outdoors. 



TNC Virginia 
Journal 
Off the Leash 
Photo Tips 
On The Water 
Dining In 







Z&*z* 




„/ Clarke C.Jones • photos by Dwight Dyke 




is hands trembled slightly as 
young Caleb Rutledge quickly 
tried to reload his long gun. It 
would not be the first time a deer had 
been knocked down, only to get up and 
run again. He thought his aim was true, 
but with all the smoke from the black 
powder he couldn't be sure. What he 
was sure of, though, was that finding a 
buck in the rapidly fading sunlight, 
even one that may have only run a hun- 
dred yards, would not be easy. In the 
middle to late 1700s, a boy was expect- 
ed to do a man's work, and 
Caleb's job was to help 
— supply meat to the tiny 
settlement of Martin's 



* 



Station, which lay along the Wilder- 
ness Road — an area that many years 
later would become Lee County, Vir- 
ginia. It was with a certain amount of 
pride that he carried his father's flint- 
lock. He had proven his skills with this 
handmade weapon two years ago and 
was considered a valued member of 
this remote outpost. 

Caleb moved quickly and quietly 
toward his quarry, only to find 
splotches of blood where he had sight- 
ed the deer. The deer had been hit and, 
judging from the amount of blood, 
could not have gone far. Just as he 
started to track the animal, he heard 
the hurried steps of something coming 



towards him — then stop. The woods 
became too quiet. Suddenly, a squirrel 
barked a warning and Caleb knew in- 
stantly it would not be the deer. 
Crouching behind a large hemlock, he 
slowly peeked around it to see what it 
might be, and almost stopped breath- 
ing. Standing over the slain deer were 
three Indians, wearing paint. 

Caleb didn't know whether they 
were Muscogee or Cherokee. It really 
didn't matter. What he did know was 
that they would not be this far east un- 
less there was trouble. Most of them 
had moved to Kentucky with the sign- 
ing of the latest treaty. However, not 
every Colonial knew just where the lat- 
est Indian borders were, and some of 
those who did just didn't care. He also 
knew it was not the deer that piqued 
their interest. If he was younger, the In- 
dians might take him captive and raise 
him as their own. But any settler who 
was old enough to shoot deer was a 
threat and he had heard how Indians 
dealt with threats. 

The three Indians said nothing, but 
with hand signals split up in three dif- 
ferent directions. Caleb knew it would 
not be long before they found him and 
moved in the only direction left open 





Lowell Haarer takes aim with one of his creations, above. Left, he primes the 
gun by putting a little powder in the flash pan. That aids in setting off the 
explosion needed to propel the shot or bullet. 



\ 



to the young boy. If he could get back 
to the path that led to the settlement 
before the Indian scouts found it, he 
might have a chance. But if they 
found the path first, at least one of 
them would be concealed alongside 
to watch whoever might use it. Stay- 
ing low and walking in a painfully 
slow squat, Caleb inched toward the 
path when suddenly a loud 
"WHOOP!" rang out. Caleb had 
been flushed! Now it was a footrace 
down the path and to the settlement. 
As Caleb darted around a bend, two 
tall figures blocked his way. He hesi- 
tated for a second when a voice cried 
out, "Keep a com'n boy! We ain't got 
all day!" 

Caleb ran around the two men. 
The Indians rounded the same bend 
and two flintlocks sent a volley to- 



ward them. Seconds later, four more 
feet joined Caleb's, and the three of 
them made a hasty retreat to Mar- 
tin's Station. "It's the flintlock they 
want," one of the settlers uttered. "If 
it looks like you are not going to 
make it, drop it and keep running." 

And so unfolded one of my 
childhood dreams. Many of those 
dreams included colorful scenarios 
tied to a particular weapon I was fas- 
cinated with at the time; in this case, 
the long rifle. 

The highly prized long rifle flint- 
lock, also known as the Pennsylvania 
or Kentucky rifle, replaced the 
matchlock system for firing a gun 
and was considered a weapon of 
high technology by both Indians and 
early settlers. It is still in demand 




today, not only by reenactors and 
those who do black powder hunting, 
but also by those who appreciate 
handmade craftsmanship that be- 
comes a work of art. 

One of these craftsmen is Lowell 
Haarer, of Linville, whose quest to 
make authentic handmade flintlocks 
may have been divine intervention. 
Haarer, a part-time minister at Zion 
Hill Mennonite Church, met his wife 
Mim at Rosedale Bible College. While 
on their honeymoon in Colonial 
Williamsburg, he viewed a documen- 
tary film on gun-making at the visitor 
center which inspired him to start 
crafting his own flintlocks. Lowell 
constructed his first flintlock in 1985, 
but at that time making flintlocks was 
more of a hobby for the former cabi- 
netmaker. About five years ago, Haar- 
er decided to change his avocation into 
his vocation. 

"It takes anywhere from 150 to 180 
hours for me to make a flintlock rifle, 
depending on the detail, style, and 
whether I also hand-forge the firing 
mechanisms of the flintlock. I can 
make just about every piece of the 
flintlock, but I normally purchase the 
barrel, and some of the locks." He 




The trigger mount and flint locking device are ready to be added to the rifle 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 



added, "I do all the relief work on the 
wood with tools I make, as well." 

Lowell uses a lathe to cut the pat- 
tern of the stock from a block of wood. 
Then with saws, chisels, rasps, and 
files the wood is removed down to its 
final size. He likely will choose a piece 
of curly maple, walnut, or cherry, be- 
cause he believes those woods are the 
most durable. Lowell has two types of 
forges: coal and gas. Although more 
economical, the coal forge takes a 
while to reach optimum temperature, 
so he uses the gas forge when quick 
heat is needed for a short time, such as 
to bend a casting or temper springs. 
After much of the work is completed, 
the long, slender forend (the wooden 
part that lies underneath the barrel) is 
then produced to attach to the barrel. 
This wooden piece adds to the beauty 
of a flintlock and is only l /\e of an inch 
in thickness! It is Lowell's attention to 
historical detail in every flintlock he 
produces which makes his work stand 
out. Although flintlocks were built for 
two centuries, Haarer's guns are from 
the period of 1770 to 1790. 

One of the key pieces in making a 
flintlock work, of course, is flint. "In 
colonial days flint was shipped from 





Lowell hand chisels the engraving on his 
flintlocks. 



Top, both a gas and a coal forge (shown) are used by the gunmaker. 
Above, Haarer cuts out the stock pattern for his next flintlock. 



OCTOBER 20 10 



Europe. Native flint, like the Indians 
used for arrowheads, can be found 
here; however, it does not last very 
long in a flintlock. "English flint is 
much better," related Haarer. 

"Repeated firing dulls the sharp- 
ened edge of the flint, so it needs to be 
knapped, which is sharpening by 
breaking off a piece of the front edge 
of the flint. This is done with a knap- 
ping hammer which the shooter car- 
ries in his shooting bag," he 
explained. A shooting bag was an es- 
sential item a hunter or soldier 
would carry to utilize a flintlock. In it 
he packed extra flint, balls or shot, lu- 
bricated patches that acted as 
wadding, a priming flask, a touch 
hole pick, and other miscellaneous 
tools required to keep a flintlock op- 
erational. 



Haarer 's flintlocks are available in 
various calibers. "The .45 caliber is 
great for target shooting because of 
good velocity with very manageable 
recoil. I am building more guns in the 
.54 to .62 caliber range because they 
pack more punch for deer hunting," 
the gunmaker explained. However, 
according to Haarer, the .50 caliber 
seems to represent the best of both 
worlds and is used often. 

It is remarkable how Haarer pro- 
duces such beautiful and useful works 
of art from his small shop in Linville; 
he utilizes every inch of space. Al- 
though many people first glimpse 
Lowell's masterful craftsmanship at 
rendezvous or living history events, 
or through the internet, or at gun 
shows, Lowell thinks that word-of- 
mouth is still the way most of them 



find out about his flintlocks. People 
must be talking because Haarer's 
flintlocks have not only found their 
way to Virginians but also to flintlock 
aficionados in Ohio, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and Georgia. 

Although today it may be 
thought of as an obsolete hunting 
tool, in its time the flintlock was a sig- 
nificant technical innovation and 
could be considered one of the fore- 
runners of all guns used today. Obvi- 
ously, Virginians and many others 
recognize its beauty and appreciate 
the skill and patience that artisan 
Lowell Haarer dedicates to conserve 
this aspect of America's history. □ 

Clarke C. Jones spends his spare time with his 
black Lab, Luke, hunting up good stories. You 
can visit Clarke and Luke on their website at 
www.clarkecjones.com. 




A flintlock in action! It's important to wear eye protection when shooting any gun. 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 







51 






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K-9 Search and Rescue: 

a calling 

and a godsend 

story and photos 
by Gail Brown 

When the phone rings in the mid- 
dle of the night, as K-9 Search 
and Rescue volunteers say it 
most often does, it would seem natural 
to hesitate — to fear the worst. Yet, being 
prepared and responding quickly to 
emergency calls is what all K-9 Search 
and Rescue (SAR) teams demand of 
themselves. In all cases, SAR volunteers 
say they'd rather be called, and if not 
needed turned back, than lose precious 
minutes should situations go unre- 
solved. This commitment does not go 
unnoticed. 

"These are very dedicated people," 
stated Conservation Police Officer Wes 
Billings. Conservation police officers 
often work closely with SAR teams and 
other law enforcement agencies in 
search and rescue situations. "It's a 
matter of us all working together... 
each has a role to play," he explained. 

While this story centers on just two 
K-9 SAR teams (Virginia K-9 Rescue 
and Recovery and K-9 Alert Search and 
Rescue Dogs, hie), numerous other K-9 
teams are making a positive difference 
in communities across the common- 
wealth; their contributions to securing 
the safety of others being critical, as 
Billings and others involved observe. 
Law enforcement officers such as Ash- 
land Chief of Police Douglas A. Good- 
man, Jr. are strong in their praise. 



Contrary to popular belief, bloodhounds 
can follow a scent through water. 

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"Virginia K-9 Rescue and Recov- 
ery provides an invaluable service to 
the men and women of the Ashland 
Police Department/' stated Chief 
Goodman. "Their efforts have con- 
tributed to the successful investiga- 
tion of several serious crimes." It was 
Chief Goodman who represented the 
Ashland Police Department when, in 
2009, the department presented Vir- 
ginia K-9 Rescue and Recovery team 
members Lynda Plummer, Julie Fish- 
er, and Tracy Brooks (and their dogs 
Annie, Tess, and Dixie) with their Cit- 
izen of the Year Award to "recognize 
these exceptional citizens both 
human and canine that have part- 
nered with us in the truest sense of 
'Community Policing'. . . for assisting 
our officers with tracking suspects 
that are involved in crimes. . . to help- 
ing reconcile families with loved ones 
who have wandered off and gone 
missing... These citizens have al- 
ways responded, no matter the time 
of day or night." 

Virginia K-9 Rescue and Recov- 
ery operates as an independent unit. 
They work strictly with bloodhounds 
and have developed expertise in 






Left, bloodhounds work on-lead. 
Above, Annie is being "scented-up." 
She will identify that exact scent. 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 



criminal investigation. They will re- 
spond only to requests from law en- 
forcement. Just ask team leader 
Lynda Plummer's mom; she'll tell 
you. When her church was burglar- 
ized and she asked the team for help, 
she was told to follow procedure and 
notify the Hanover County Sheriff's 
Department. . . when an officer called 
Lynda, the team would respond! The 
call was made and the bloodhounds 
trailed the suspects to their homes. 
They later confessed: case solved! 

Bloodhounds are trailing dogs 
and, unlike air-scent dogs or tracking 
dogs (dogs that follow tracks, like 
crushed vegetation), bloodhounds 
are trained to follow one scent, elimi- 
nating others. Working in a harness, 
head ciown, they pull their handler 
toward the target. "Relentless" 
would be a good descriptor. Chief 
Deputy J. Joseph McLaughlin Jr. of 
the New Kent County Sheriff's Office 
has worked with the team on several 
cases. He noted, "Without their assis- 
tance people and property would not 
have been located so quickly. We've 
worked with them for eight years 
and they've never turned us down." 

One suspect, upon seeing Annie 
roiling toward him — 95 pounds of 
muscle, nose, jowls, and feet — sim- 
ply stood up and surrendered, show- 
ing remarkable clarity of thought, 
considering. The team travels light: a 
bottle of water, a GPS unit, and rea- 
sonable expectations, relying on law 
enforcement (always just behind but 
never out of sight) to provide protec- 
tion and any extra supplies needed. 

"My officers stay behind the ca- 
nine teams, always keeping visual 
contact while maintaining radio con- 
tact with the incident commander," 
stated McLaughlin. "During one 
search that lasted 36 hours, Plummer 
made a suggestion that I believe re- 
sulted in our locating, and possibly 
saving the life of, a disabled person 
who had wandered precariously 
close to railroad tracks. The services 
they provided over the years have 
been an invaluable resource to New 
Kent County." 




Sheila Montague, Wilderness Handler-in-Training, watches as Hannah swipes a 
treat during a well-deserved break. 




Carmen Johnson (right) and her dog Dixie are working toward certifi- 
cation. Training is constant and rigorous. 



OCTOBER 20 10 



The sentiment is echoed by 
James City County Investigator Bill 
Gibbs, who has seen firsthand how 
the team can make a difference. "The 
bloodhounds have an amazing abili- 
ty to track over time," said Gibbs. "In 
one case, K-9 Tess led us to the source 
of evidence that linked a suspect to 
the crime. This link made the case 
come together. They are part of us 
and we are part of them when we are 
working together. They are saints as 
far as I'm concerned." Would investi- 
gators from the James City County 
Police Department have found the 
link between the evidence and the 
criminal without the help of the K-9 
team? "Not as quickly and maybe 
not before the suspect fled the area," 
said Gibbs. 

While Virginia K-9 works as an 
independent unit, K-9 Alert Search 
and Rescue Dogs, Inc. (K9 Alert) — a 
Midlothian-based organization — is a 



member of the Virginia Search and 
Rescue Council. As such, it operates 
as a state resource under a Memoran- 
dum of Understanding with the Vir- 
ginia Department of Emergency 
Management (VDEM). Units associ- 
ated with VDEM work to locate 
missing persons, victims of natural 
disasters, victims of crimes, and clues 
resulting from crimes. They also par- 
ticipate in recovery on both land and 
water. Should VDEM be involved in 
a missing person case, here's how 
events might unfold: Law enforce- 
ment contacts VDEM and requests 
the support of K-9 teams; VDEM no- 
tifies area SAR dispatchers who call 
their team members; responding 
units proceed to the site where the 
missing person was last seen; a com- 
mand center is set up and a 360 de- 
gree circle is drawn to delineate the 
search area. 

Typically, a "hasty" (quick search 



of the area) is the first task K-9 teams 
perform. During a hasty, travel ways 
or land formations that might natu- 
rally be followed are quickly 
searched. Often things are resolved at 
this level. If not, an area search be- 
gins. The area is divided into sections, 
most often by natural boundaries, 
and each team is assigned a section to 
scour. While searching, handlers con- 
tinually evaluate the "possibility of 
detection" (POD) for their area, 
working to reach as high a POD as 
possible. Difficult terrain, unfavor- 
able winds, severe weather, or un- 
foreseen conditions result in a low 
POD. Should that happen, the area is 
searched again using different re- 
sources. Once the area is completely 
searched a report is made to the inci- 
dent commander. Teamwork and at- 
tention to detail can result in lives 
saved, as was the case one unusually 
hot, humid morning last May, deep in 




Scott Schumann (kneeling) watches as his English Lab, Jazz, makes it through a tight squeeze. K-9 Alert trains 
every weekend regardless of the weather. 



12 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 



a swamp in King George County. K-9 
Alert was there, as was their newest 
member, Von Ellett, and his recently 
certified Labrador retriever, Reese. 

In 2005 Ellett was asked to act as a 
"walker," an aide for a K-9 search and 
rescue team. Walkers accompany K-9 
teams and provide another set of eyes 
and ears and help with equipment 
and map and compass readings. 
Sometime during two days of search- 
ing Ellett discovered his passion. By 
2006 he had his Lab; in 2007 he joined 
K-9 Alert; and last March, 2009, Ellett 
and Reese completed their training 
and became SAR operational. While 
Ellett makes the leap seem easy, if s 
not. Time has shown, however, that 
Ellett has that one equality that cannot 
be tested, yet makes all the difference. 
"The most telling characteristic any- 
one involved in search and rescue can 
have is a passion for what they do," 
said David Fleenor, President of K-9 



Alert Search and Rescue Dogs, Inc. 
"The ones that finish the training and 
stay with the team simply, above all 
else, have that passion." 

Qualities easier to evaluate are 
the handlers' determination to stay 
physically fit, become proficient in 
radio communication, map and com- 
pass reading, first aid, animal first 
aid, and wilderness survival skills. 
"Let me say this," said Ellett, "If 
you're going to do search and rescue, 
you're not going to do anything 
else." 

Shortly after becoming opera- 
tional, Ellett responded to a middle- 
of-the-night call for help with a 
search in King George County. A 
young person was missing in a 
swampy area of woods along the 
Rappahannock River. Up at 4 a.m. 
and arriving by 7, Ellett, Reese, and 
fellow team member John Lohr were 
assigned an area stretching from the 




Rick and Kim Bidwell and their Labs, Kelty and Petra (right), are all members of 
K-9 Alert. Kelty was rescued from a shelter. 



road through the swamp to the river. 
Moving forward was laborious. 
"The area was wooded — lots of trees, 
pine saplings, oaks, and lots of 
swamp grass. Every now and then 
you could see a few dry spots," said 
Ellett. "In other places the mud was 
waist-high on the dog." 

Reese is an air-scent dog. She fol- 
lows the scent of shed skin cells 
which drift on the wind — providing 
a "trail of particles" for her to follow. 
Air-scent dogs run off-lead and, once 
they locate a human, will return to 
their handler. Depending on their 
training, the dog will signal the han- 
dler by jumping, tugging, or barking; 
then lead their handler to the subject. 
The handler will reward the dog and 
keep him searching until the correct 
person is found. "Reese found the 
subject around 9 a.m. — the same time 
John made eye contact," said Ellett. 
"When Reese came back to me to in- 
dicate, I put her back on lead. I could 
see the person was startled. It must 
have been scary alone in the woods." 

Here's another scary detail: Just 
prior to the rescue, a clue was found 
in another section of the woods; 
teams were being called to focus their 
efforts in that area. While others 
might have changed direction, SAR 
training dictates you clear your entire 
section before moving on. Had Ellett 
not been so thorough and well 
trained, would things have turned 
out as well? Possibly. Most likely not. 

What is clear is that SAR teams 
are filling a need and making a differ- 
ence in our lives and communities. 
We are all safer for their efforts. No 
one wants to be the one that has to 
make that middle-of-the-night call 
for help, but all who are found in that 
situation should know this: There are 
K-9 teams who will come to your aid 
whenever you need them. They will 
stay as long as you need them. That is 
the dedication law enforcement re- 
lies on. That is the passion Fleenor is 
talking about. □ 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school 
administrator. 



OCTOBER 20 10 



u 







f. 






1 




tw 



39 



The Rest of The Year 



story and photos 
by David Hart 

Two weeks after Briery Creek 
Lake opened to the public in 
1989, Wayne Purdum found 
himself weaving in and out of the 
thick trees that stood in the chilly 
water. It was late January and Pur- 
dum wasn't sure where to start. Ac- 
cess was limited to just a single gravel 
ramp at the lower end of the reser- 
voir, and the standing timber was so 
thick at the time a long run toward 
the upper end just wasn't an option. 
It was, after all, his first trip to this 
scenic 845-acre reservoir and Pur- 
dum was mostly getting a feel for the 
lake. 

"I ended up finding a line of trees 
that came off the bank. It looked like 
it ran next to a submerged road bed, 
so I just started casting a jig to that 
tree line," he recalled. 

14 



It turned out to be a good deci- 
sion. When the day was over Pur- 
dum, a meticulous record-keeper, 
landed 41 bass, many near four 
pounds. Almost all of them came 
from that single tree line. 

"I broke off some huge fish. I just 
wasn't prepared," he said. 

Since that first year, Briery has 
become Virginia's premier trophy 
bass fishing destination, not just for 
Purdum, but for countless others. 




Anglers come from all over the 
mid-Atlantic region in March and 
April armed with stout rods, big 
baits, rope-thick line, and visions of 
10-pounders. During the peak sea- 
son, however, finding a place to 
park a truck and trailer can be as 
tough as finding one of those giant 
bass that made this Department- 
owned lake famous. Locating some 
undisturbed water is equally chal- 
lenging. 



Think the best 

fishing takes 

place in 

March and April? 

Think again. 




Above, fall fishing on Briery can be 
downright fantastic and offer solitude. 
Below, dragging a frog, rat, or weedless 
spoon across the surface can result in 
some heart-pounding action. 



"I would say there are as many 
as 400 anglers on the lake on some of 
the most popular days in the early 
spring," speculated regional fish- 
eries biologist Vic DiCenzo. "About 
70 percent of the total angling effort 
takes place that time of year." 

That's one reason Purdum fa- 
vors the less popular seasons. He 
does fish during the early spring, 
but he says anglers who abandon 
Briery after April are missing out on 
some great fishing action, even for 
the giant bass that every angler 
dreams of catching. He fished this 
lake 53 times in 2009, including 18 
days in June, July, and August when 
he caught an astounding 887 bass. 
Yes, 887, including numerous bass 
over four pounds. He boated one 
over eight pounds last October. His 
brother-in-law hooked one that Pur- 
dum estimated at "12 or 13 pounds" 
in the late summer a few years ago. 
His best day last year? 

"Seventy-three. I've had a num- 
ber of hundred-fish days in the past 
and I was skunked just once last 
vear and that was in the winter, 



when I typically don't catch a whole 
lot of fish," Purdum told me. 

If that's not enough incentive to 
grab your tackle and head to Briery 
in the summer and early fall, con- 
sider this: You'll have the lake al- 
most entirely to yourself, 
particularly if you go during the 
week. Although DiCenzo doesn't 
have specific numbers, he's seen 
days that time of year where the 
lake was virtually deserted. And as 
Purdum can testify, catch rates actu- 
ally go up during the warmer 
months. According to creel survey 
data, the overall catch rate at Briery 
is actually the highest in the region, 
topping even nearby Sandy River 
Reservoir, Kerr, and Lake Chesdin. 
It also ranks number one for overall 
bass numbers. 

Unlocking Briery's summer/ 
fall pattern isn't that difficult; Pur- 
dum almost always fishes deeper 
creek channels and rarely ventures 
close to shore. That's why he's baf- 
fled that so many anglers continue 
to pound the shoreline when they 
aren't catching bass. 




"One day I watched two guys 
going down the shore casting spin- 
nerbaits. I guess they saw me catch- 
ing a bunch of fish so they came over 
and asked me what I was doing," re- 
called Purdum. 

Always willing to share his tac- 
tics, Purdum carefully explained the 
bait, the location, and the retrieve. 
When he finished, the other anglers 
shrugged. 

"They said, 'Thanks, but we 
don't like to fish that slow,' and they 
went back to fishing spinnerbaits 
along the banks," he said. "I didn't 
see them catch anything." 



Purdum recalls that story not be- 
cause he's bragging, but because he 
often talks to anglers who struggle to 
catch more than a few fish outside of 
the spring. As a 20-year veteran of 
Briery, Purdum learned long ago that 
the secret to success is to move away 
from the shore, slow down, and use 
lures that the bass don't see every 
day. Common lures like spinnerbaits 
and larger top waters often don't gar- 
ner a second glance from finicky bass 
in Briery's clear water. Those same 
fish do, however, willingly eat soft 
plastics and other lures they don't see 
on a daily basis. Purdum uses a 




weedless, wacky-rigged soft plastic 
worm that he throws in water up to 
15 feet deep, particularly around the 
many creek channels that wind 
across the lake bottom. He uses that 
rig more than anything and he typi- 
cally fishes in the 5- to 12-foot range 
almost all year. 

Another key to catching bass on 
Briery after early spring is to use 
smaller lures like finesse worms, 
smaller versions of popular baits, 
and other downsized soft plastics. 
The adage "big baits catch big bass" 
is true, but big bass will also eat a 
small lure on this lake. Those little 
baits call for scaled-down tackle like 
8-pound line on a spinning rod, but 




Wayne Purdum's 

Briery regular Wayne Purdum uses a variety 
of lures when he fishes this lake, but one 
lure outfishes all others. It's a simple combi- 
nation of a 7-inch Zoom trick worm, a short 
piece of plastic tubing, a nail weight, and a 
3/0 Gamakatsu octopus hook. He rigs a 
modified weedless version of a wacky rig 
with the nail weight in the tail of the lure. 

"Nothing produces better and I use it 
all over the country and I use it all year," 
he said. 

Purdum typically uses watermelon/red 
flake, but he insists color really doesn't mat- 
ter. He'll gladly throw pink, white, black, or 
green pumpkin, whatever he happens to 
grab when he opens his tacklebox. He sim- 
ply casts it out and allows it to sink toward 
the bottom. If a bass hasn't grabbed it be- 
fore it reaches the bottom, Purdum picks it 
up, reels in the slack, and lets it fall again. He 
focuses on 5- to 15-foot-deep creek chan- 
nels, moving until he finds a concentration 
offish. 



Left, shellcrackers are big and abundant, 
making fishing fun for young anglers. 




A footing jerkbait twitched on the surface over submerged grassbeds can draw 
subtle strikes from big bass. 



there is a trade-off: You'll hook more 
fish, but there's a good chance a big 
bass will wrap your line around a 
tree limb. It's a worthy trade-off for 
many anglers who would rather 
hook more fish and worry about get- 
ting them in the boat afterwards than 
not hook as many to begin with. 

That's not to say the pads and 
other shallow cover don't hold bass. 
They do, even during the blistering 
summer heat typical of southern Vir- 
ginia. During summer electrofishing 
efforts, DiCenzo often finds quality 
fish in skinny water, including a 
13!/2-pounder that was in five feet of 
water in August. In fact, the heat and 
high, bright sun can actually create a 
red-hot shallow pattern on Briery. 
The dense watershield (mistakenly 
called lily pads by many anglers) that 
rings the shoreline provides shade 
and cover and can hold good num- 
bers of largemouths throughout the 
summer. For many anglers, that's the 
prime opportunity to pull a frog or 
weedless rat across the surface of the 
pads. Bass see the movement above 
them and explode on the bait. It's one 
of the most exciting ways to catch 
bass anywhere, and Briery is no dif- 
ferent. 

Not Just Bass 

Largemouth bass may be the biggest 
draw, but Briery also has excellent 
populations of sunfish, crappie, and 



catfish. DiCenzo doesn't have much 
data on the panfish or catfish, but he 
does know that anglers come from 
far and wide to cash in on the fantas- 
tic redear sunfish populations. Re- 
dears, also known as shellcrackers, 
typically live in deeper water much 
of the year, but they come shallow in 
late May and June to spawn in open- 
ings in the watershield and among 
the countless trees in shallow water. 
Find a big bed of them and you can 
have a ball. Although it is possible to 
catch a few on artificials, fresh-dug 
garden worms or store-bought red 
wigglers are the ideal bait. Simply 
drop a worm-baited hook into a 
school of bedding shellcrackers and 
you can catch all you want. 

The fish can seem too easy to 
catch and some anglers are con- 
cerned about the potential for over- 
harvest. However, the average size 
continues to hold up well, and fish 
up to a pound are caught regularly. 
DiCenzo says it's virtually impossi- 
ble to harm the redear fishery be- 
cause the lake is so fertile and sunfish 
are prolific breeders. 

The crappie fishery is largely un- 
tapped and is also as good as almost 
any lake in the state, with lots of two- 
pounders pulled from the flooded 
timber each year. Finding them, 
however, is like finding a needle in a 
haystack. The lake is a sea of standing 
trees and stumps, all perfect crappie 



In 2008, fisheries biologists added 5,000 
ten-inch grass carp in an effort to con- 
trol the aquatic vegetation that was 
slowly swallowing Briery. According to 
district biologist Vic DiCenzo, the grass 
wasn't just shrinking the lake's volume, 
it was robbing the water of vital nutri- 
ents like plankton. As a result, the 
recruitment rate for baby bass was 
dismally low. 

"During some sampling efforts we 
would go through areas that should 
have turned up hundreds of young-of- 
year bass that only produced ten or so," 
said the biologist. "They were basically 
starving to death before they were old 
enough to switch to insects and fish. 
There was just very little phytoplankton. 
That's not good for the long-term health 
of the fishery." 

By removing a large portion of the 
submerged vegetation, the baby bass 
will have more food to eat and, thus, a 
much higher survival rate. The Depart- 
ment has been stocking upwards of 
20,000 fingerling bass over the past few 
years to fill the void, but DiCenzo hopes 
to stop that after the grass thins out. 

Contrary to popular belief, grass 
carp don't eat bass eggs. The carp will 
eventually reach upwards of 30 pounds 
and fisheries biologists may open them 
to harvest, but until then, they need to 
stay in the lake to help the bass that 
made this lake famous get big. 



habitat, which is one reason the crap- 
pie grow so big. 

"I don't have any biological data 
because the lake is difficult to sample 
for crappie, but I don't hear any com- 
plaints from those who fish for 
them," noted DiCenzo. 

He won't hear many complaints 
from bass anglers who visit this lake 
in the "off-season," either. The fish 
are there and are always willing to eat 
a lure — that is, if you use the right 
one in the right spots. □ 



David Hart is a full-time freelance writer and 
photographerfrom Rice. He is a regular contrib- 
utor to numerous national hunting and fishing 
magazines. 



OCTOBER 20 1 



7 



^3e Wild! Live Wil d! Grow Wild! 



Bobwhite quail 



story by Cristina Santiestevan 
illustrations by Spike Knuth 

^^ ometimes the simplest problems are 
\^r the toughest to solve. 

For example, how do we halt the 
freefall in their population and restore Vir- 
ginia's bobwhite quail to our landscape? 

It's simple. And, horribly difficult. We 
only have to learn to love weeds. 

Fallow fields and overgrown fence 
lines may seem an eyesore to many, 
prompting calls for mowers and bushhogs. 
For bobwhite quail, howev- 
er, those unkempt fields 
and fence lines look like 
home. A tangled mess of 
clover and cowpeas, poi- 
son sumac, and wild plum 
trees is exactly the sort of habitat 
those tiny game birds prefer. "It's 
not just weeds and brush," states 




Marc Puckett, wildlife biologist and small 
game project leader for the Department. 
"It's an ecosystem like any other." 

Bobwhites are far from alone in their 
preference for abandoned fields and pas- 
tures. Countless species rely upon these 
scrubby landscapes for shelter and food 
and a place to raise their young or weather 
winter's storms. A healthy stand of shrubs 
and weeds will support a dizzying array 
of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Field 
sparrows and golden-winged warblers 
take to the skies while Eastern box turtles 
nose through fallen leaves. Predators 
from the mighty Northern harrier to the 
scrappy least weasel cruise for field spar- 
rows, Southern bog lemmings, and other 
smaller, meeker neighbors. Whip-poor- 
wills and American woodcocks share 
their haunting songs as evening falls. 
And, amongst them all, coveys of bob- 
white raise another generation of chicks. 

But, all of these species are listed as 



Revert 



•A 




Species of Greatest Conservation Need 
in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan. These 
animals, like their habitat, are slowly 
disappearing from Virginia's land- 
scape. As the weeds and shrubs are 
cleared away, the animals that rely upon 
them are literally erased. 

The decline — of weeds and the ani- 
mals that rely on them — began in the 
first half of the last century. As farming 
practices shifted toward more intensive 
methods, the abandoned fields and 
weedy fencerows were tamed. The 
weeds and shrubs that bobwhite count 
upon were erased from the landscape; 
too inefficient for modern agricultural 
practices and too messy for anyone to 
protest their absence. But, the problem 
goes deeper than weed-free corn rows 
and fescue-planted pastures. 

There is simply less open space 
available today. In 1920, approximately 
80% of Virginia's land was in some form 
of agriculture. Today, that number is 
hovering around 34%. Active and fal- 
low fields, pastures, mixed-crop farms, 
and weedy fencerows have all been 



swallowed by suburban expansion: 
roads, homes, and shopping malls. 

Re-creating this patchwork of 
scrubby habitat is no small task. This is 
where the simple problem — lack of 
suitable habitat — becomes extremely 
difficult to solve. "Forty or fifty years 
ago, this habitat largely occurred by ac- 
cident," says Puckett. "Farmers just did 
not have the time to mow every field 
every year." The result was a constantly 
changing patchwork of fallow fields 
and weedy fence lines that supported a 
mess of shrubs and flowers and wild 
creatures. "To have this habitat now re- 
quires conscious effort," Puckett notes. 
Conscious effort, and an awful lot of 
work. 

The challenge comes from several 
quarters. Farmers, understandably, 
want to eke every bushel of productivi- 
ty from their acreage. Homeowners 
want a tidy lawn. Property managers 
and developers want clean medians 
and neatly mowed fields. No one seems 
to want the weeds and mess of a 
healthy scrubby, bobwhite-attracting 







J 



AcrwtLp 

Here are three simple ways you can help 
Virginia's bobwhite quail and other weed- 
and bramble-loving creatures: 

f. Learn to love a mess. A field of weeds 
and brambles may look unkempt, but 
it is home-sweet-home for bobwhite, 
songbirds, weasels, turtles, and more. 
And, if we can look past the wild tangle, 
there are countless wildflowers to 
smell and colorful butterflies to chase. 

2. Welcome some "weeds" into your 
yard or fields. Anyone with the space 
for 20 acres of brambles and tangles 
could soon be providing a home for a 
whole covey of bobwhite. But even 
those of us with only 20 square feet to 
spare could soon be hosting humming- 
birds and butterflies and colorful war- 
blers. 

3. Share the beauty of weeds with 
friends, family, and neighbors. Thank 
landowners who have set aside some 
space for a little unkempt wilderness. 
Ask homeowners associations to con- 
sider introducing a little disorder and 
beauty into the neighborhood. Talk 
with teachers and community officials 
about introducing little pockets of 
habitat wherever space permits. 

Learn more and get involved 

Whether you own acres of pastureland or 
only have a few spare inches on your win- 
dowsill, there are ways to help out. Visit 
the DGIF website to learn more about Vir- 
ginia's quail conservation efforts, partner- 
ships, and incentives for landowners at: 
www.dgif.virginia.gov/quail. 

Contact the closest private lands 
wildlife biologist to learn about maintain- 
ing your property for quail and other 
weed-loving species: 

Andy Rosenberger, SW Virginia 
540-381-4221 extension 128 

Katie Martin, SC Virginia 
434-392-4171 extension 106 

Kenneth S. Kesson, NW Virginia 
540-248-6218 extension 108 

Mike Budd, NE Virginia 
540-899-9492 extension 101 

Tiffany Beachy, SE Virginia 
757-357-7004 extension 126 

Marc Puckett, Statewide 
434-392-8328 



20 




habitat. Why choose weeds over 
lawns, or disorder over order? But, if 
we want to preserve Virginia quail 
hunting and homegrown wildflower 
honey and the song of the whip- 
poor-will on summer evenings, this 
is exactly what we must do. We must, 
says Puckett, embrace the mess and 
"learn to love a weed." If we can do 
that — if we can learn to see the beau- 
ty in brambles and weeds — then we 
can go a long way toward saving a 
whole category of wildlife that is 
slowly disappearing from Virginia's 
hills and valleys. 

Naturally, it will take more than a 
shift in attitude to save these species. 



A great deal of sweat will be re- 
quired too. And, because so few of 
the necessary acres are state owned, 
private landowners will be the lead- 
ers in this project. Virginia's DGIF 
may be facilitating the state's one- 
year-old Quail Action Plan, but it 
will be private residents and 
landowners who determine its suc- 
ss. If we save bobwhite quail in 
this state, it will be because enough 
individuals agreed to welcome a lit- 
tle bit of disorder — a little bit of 
wilderness — onto their property. 

Converting habitat from close- 
cropped pastures, tightly managed 
fields, and weed-free developments 
takes time, energy, and no small in- 
vestment of money. Interested 
landowners will find an eager ally in 
their local, private lands wildlife bi- 
ologist (see Learn more and get in- 
volved for contact information). 
Financial assistance is also available. 

A full covey of bobwhite may re- 
quire 20 or more acres to survive 
winter's harsh conditions, which 
means farmers and other large prop- 
erty owners hold an advantage here. 
Within the boundaries of their prop- 
erty, these individuals may be able to 
piece together enough acres to host 
an entire population of bobwhite 
quail. Their summer days may soon 
be filled with cries of bob-bob-white, 





If we save bobwhite quail in this 
state, it will be because enough in- 
dividuals agreed to welcome a lit- 
tle bit of disorder — a little bit of 
wilderness — onto their property. 

and their cool-weather strolls could 
soon be punctuated by the thunder- 
ous roar of a dozen quail rising from 
their shelter amongst wild crabap- 
ples and dried grasses. 

Although whole fields of shrubs 
and weeds are excellent, smaller 
parcels of land will be just as impor- 
tant to the recovery of bobwhite and 
other weed-loving, upland species. 
Strips of weeds and brambles along 
fence lines and roadways offer both 
food and shelter. Small patches of 
shrubs and native grasses can be 
knit together through a larger patch- 
work of woods and fields, creating 
an array of habitats that support a 
rich diversity of creatures. Even iso- 
lated pockets of wildflowers and 
shrubs in a tiny backyard will attract 
brown thrashers and Eastern 
towhees. A single flowering plant 
can make a difference for native pol- 
linators. 

Of course size is not the only 
issue, and not every property will 
work for quail and their compatri- 



,;"' *' 



t 



ots. Wetlands, for example, make an 
excellent home for waterfowl, otters, 
and fishes, but hold no appeal for 
quail and their scrub-loving com- 
panions. Likewise, mature hard- 
wood forests will not offer the open, 
patchy habitat the birds prefer. But, 
those trees provide essential habitat 
for countless other species. If your 
property suits a different type of 
habitat and creature, don't bemoan 
your tall trees or wetlands. Instead, 
advises Puckett, "Appreciate them. 
And, manage the habitat for the 
species that need it." The message is 
simple: Bobwhite quail are not the 
only wild creature worth protecting 
in the state. 

Our fields and wild places have 
seen a disorienting amount of 
change in the past few decades. Shift- 
ing agricultural practices and ex- 
panding commercial and residential 
development have gobbled up 
countless acres of weeds and shrubs. 
And, as their habitat has disap- 
peared, the birds and reptiles and 
mammals that rely on them have fol- 
lowed. There is still time to save Vir- 
ginia's bobwhite and other weed- 
lovers, but time is running short. 

"These species... They don't 
need our help 15 years from now or 
20 years from now," declares Puck- 
ett. "They need our help now." □ 

Cristina Santiestevan writes about wildlife and 
the environment from her home in Virginia's 
Blue Ridge Mountains. 



Stoghorn sumoc 



V 



\ 




Box turtle 





On a remote island, 

evidence 

of a lavish past 



by Curtis J. Badger 

iere is a lot of water out in 
Magothy Bay, but as an old 
waterman friend once told 
'It's stretched mighty thin." 
Magothy Bay separates the mainland 
Eastern Shore from the south end of 
Mockhorn Island, a 7,000-acre state 
wildlife management area (WMA) 
that stretches for several miles along 
the coast of Northampton County. 
Magothy Bay is not only shallow, it 
also includes surprises such as oyster 
rocks, sandbars, and clam beds 
which can quickly do expensive 
damage to boat motors. My son Tom 
and I were with Steve Garvis, a con- 
servation police officer who has pa- 
trolled these waters for much of his 
career with DGIF, and Steve seemed 
to know the location of each clam bed 
and rock. We avoided them all. 

We launched at the public boat 
ramp in the aptly named village of 
Oyster, headed east, and soon were 
cruising parallel to a low-lying rib- 
bon of cordgrass that was swaying in 
the breeze, salt water lapping at its 
heels. This was Mockhorn — low, 
long, and narrow — an inner island 
that does not front the Atlantic as bar- 



©Dwight Dyke 




Larrimore and Caroline Cushman built 
this two-story retreat on Mockhorn in 
the early 1900s and surrounded the 
property with a concrete seawall to pro 
tect it from high tides. Vintage photos 
courtesy of Tommy O'Connor 



rier islands do, but rather, serves as a 
cushion between the barriers and the 
mainland. 

Mockhorn has been a WMA 
since 1959, but before that it had a 
very colorful human history, and on 
this particular day it was that aspect 
of Mockhorn we were interested in. 
At first glance it is an unassuming 
place, and then you begin to consider 
its past. Suddenly it becomes much 
more than a grassy seaside island. 




^ 





T.A.D. Jones with a nice catch of black 
drum, circa 1950. 



22 



Virginia Wildlife www.HuntFishva 










Native people hunted and fished 
here, and when European settlers 
came, this was one of the first places 
they explored. Captain Samuel Ar- 
gall, who was commissioned to fish 
along the coast to support the 
Jamestown colony, visited these is- 
lands in 1610 and reported "a great 
store of fish, both shellfish and oth- 
Argall explored Smith Island, 



After Larrimore Cushman died in 1948 the property was purchased by T.A.D. 
Jones, from Connecticut. The seaplane (top) was used to fly guests to and from 
the retreat. Above, this amphibious vehicle called the "duck" was used to 
transport visiting hunters to duck blinds around the island. 



OCTOBER 20 1 



ers. 



just south of Mockhorn, and reported 
to Sir Thomas Dale, then governor of 
Virginia, that this low-lying barrier 
beach could be used to distill salt 
from sea water. Argall's "a great store 
of fish" meant little unless this great 
store could be preserved in brine for a 
reasonable length of time to sustain 
the colony over winter. So salt pro- 
duction was begun on Smith, using 
large clay vats heated by fire to distill 
the salt from the sea. 

Mockhorn soon became a salt 
producer as well. According to Ralph 
T. Whitelaw's Virginia's Eastern Shore, 
John Custis, the great-grandfather of 
Martha Custis Washington, entered 
into a contract with Peter Reverdly on 
April 4, 1668 to make salt on the is- 
land, which was then owned by 
Custis. Reverdly was apparently an 
expert at the salt-making process, 
and a lengthy contract gave him in- 
structions to build 312 clay-lined 
evaporation ponds for extracting salt 
from the sea. Unlike on Smith Island, 
fire was not to be used in the process. 
Reverdly used solar radiation to 




i* 



U 



distill salt, so it could be said that 
Mockhorn engaged America's first 
solar powered industry. 

With Steve Garvis at the controls 
of the skiff, we cruised the western 
edge of Mockhorn, looking for more 
recent evidence of the human past. 
The northern end of the island is low, 
with saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina al- 
terniflom) spreading like a saltwater 
prairie as far as the eye can see. This 
area of the island has been a favorite 
among rail hunters for generations. 
Lunar tides in the fall drive the water 
high into the marsh, covering all but 
the highest stands of grass. These are 
the few times during the year when 
clapper rail can be successfully hunt- 
ed. Otherwise, there is simply too 
much grass for them to hide within. 

As Garvis headed south, we saw 
higher land in the distance: cedars, 
wax myrtles, a few scrubby pines. 
And then we saw two World War II 
era watchtowers standing side by 
side on a sandy beach. We were near- 
ing the south end of Mockhorn, and 
we were closer to finding what we 
were looking for. 

Mockhorn's colorful past in- 
cludes tales of pirates and Confeder- 
ate guerilla bands who hid out here 
during the Civil War. Edward 
Teach — "Blackbeard" — 
was reportedly a native 
of Accomack County, a 
little to the north, and 
this was one of his 




Little remains of the Cushmans' island retreat. This window once looked out over 
pasture and gardens, a scene that is quickly being reclaimed by salt marsh plants. 





Clapper rail 



favorite hiding places. In 1863 during 
the Civil War, John Yates Beall, a 
southern espionage agent serving in 
the Confederate Navy, hid on Mock- 
horn with his men before the raid 
that destroyed the Cape Charles 
lighthouse on Smith Island and the 
Union telegraph line at Cherry- 
stone Wharf, on the bay side of 
the peninsula a few miles 
away. 

But we were looking 
\ for evidence of a 
*\K more permanent 
nature. In 1852 
v Nathan Cobb built a hunting 
>4 lodge here, no doubt to com- 
plement the facility he owned 
m on nearby Cobb's Island, a re- 
8» sort that became nationally 
known from the end of the Civil 
War until the late 1800s. After 
Cobb's death the property was 
purchased by Larrimore H. Cush- 
man and his wife Caroline, who by 
1902 had purchased the entire up- 
land part of the island in several sep- 
arate parcels, as well as the vast 
marshland to the north. 

The Cushmans, who made their 



fortune in the bakery business in 
New York, added on to Cobb's mod- 
est lodge, eventually building one of 
the last great island retreats on the 
Virginia coast. The home has not 
been lived in for more than half a cen- 
tury, but like a ghost, its presence still 
hovers in a cedar thicket on a bit of 
high land on the south end of Mock- 
horn. Garvis slowed the skiff to idle 
speed and nudged the bow onto a 
sandy beach. Next to us was a row of 
rotting pilings — all that remained of 
the dock used by residents and 
guests when they arrived from the 
mainland. 

We crawled up a bank covered 
with crumbling concrete and soon 
were in a shady grove that once shel- 
tered a portico. Select columns still 
held the weight of the canopy; others 
were scattered along the ground like 
fallen soldiers. We walked through 
the remains of a doorway and en- 
tered the large foyer. A stairway on 
the left would have led to guest quar- 
ters on the second story, most of 
which had caved in. Much of the 
woodwork, including wainscoting 
and fireplace mantels, had been re- 

VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 




The Cushmans built many outbuildings using concrete made on the island. In the 
foreground (top) are cold frames used to propagate plants. 

Above, a seawall surrounded the Cushman compound to protect it from high tides. 
A century later, much of the wall still stands. 



moved. A tub remained in a tiled 
bathroom, no doubt a luxury on a re- 
mote island in the early 1900s. 

What appeared to have been a 
courtyard separated two wings of the 
building. Mrs. Cushman was an en- 
thusiastic gardener, and the remains 
of some of the plants she introduced 
were still there. 

A huge cedar tree had died but 
was still upright, wrapped by wiste- 
ria vines the size of my arm that cov- 



ered much of the house. The purple 
flowers were in bloom, and I could 
hear the hum of bumble bees above 



me. 



We left the courtyard and came 
to an opening in what appeared to be 
the working part of the farm. The en- 
tire compound was surrounded by a 
sea wall built of concrete, with local 
shells embedded in the mix. I real- 
ized that this was not just a hunting 
lodge or a vacation getaway for a 



wealthy family. A century ago, they 
lived a self-sustained existence here, 
something that today might be fea- 
tured in an issue of Mother Earth Nezos 
for the well-to-do. 

There were many outbuildings 
made of concrete, a building that ap- 
peared to be a smokehouse, a dairy, a 
dozen or so concrete cold frames fac- 
ing the southern sun, pasture that at 
one time would have had livestock 
and chickens, a pond that might have 
been an aquaculture project. Rusting 
farm implements were covered with 
dried brown cordgrass left by the last 
high tide. The place looked like a me- 
dieval fortress, a project that obvious- 
ly, even a century later, displayed the 
creativity, the drive and, indeed, the 
obsession of the owners. I wish I 
could have known them. 

Local historians say the Cush- 
man compound was done in by two 
factors. The Great Depression of 1929 
eroded the family fortune, and the 
deadly hurricane of 1933 broached 
the seawall, flooded the property, and 
covered the fertile land with salt 
water. Today, after decades of a rising 
sea, fields which once grew vegeta- 
bles and pasture grass grow salt- 
marsh cordgrass. 

After Larrimore Cushman's 
death in 1948, his widow sold the is- 
land to T.A.D. Jones, a government 
contractor from Connecticut who 
added a more modern frame barn 
and who often entertained military 
officials and politicians, who would 
fly in by sea plane or helicopter to 
spend a few days shooting black 
ducks in the shallow ponds and adja- 
cent marshes. The big barn built by 
Jones was said to be the headquarters 
of many lavish parties. It still stands 
today, if missing a few pieces of sid- 
ing. An amphibious vehicle called 
"the duck" was used to transport 
guests to duck blinds some fifty years 
ago, and it is still there, parked just in- 
side the barn door, a badly rusted old 
soldier that just might be ready for 
one final skirmish. □ 

Curtis Badger, whose most recent book is A Nat- 
ural History of Quiet Waters (UVA Press), has 
'written widely about natural history and 
wildlife art. He lives on Virginia's Eastern Shore. 



OCTOBER 20 10 



25 



Getting youngsters 
interested in the great 

outdoors is a 
growing challenge. 

byMarcN.McGlade 

For many folks, the landscape has 
changed regarding their interest 
and involvement in the out- 
doors. Nationwide, license sales for 
hunting and fishing continue to re- 
main unchanged, with no evidence of 
the trend climbing. Dealing with kids 
today who would rather play their 
Nintendo DS or Wii (or other "name 
your video game player here") is a 
challenge that all of us dedicated to 
the outdoors must now consider. 

Children face far more distrac- 
tions than those of previous genera- 
tions. Communication is instan- 
taneous; technology is changing at 
light speed; and news — both good 
and bad — is constant. Text messag- 
ing and social media websites, even 
for youngsters, in many cases replace 
the telephone. While these things are 
undergoing rapid change and trans- 
formation, the outdoors opportuni- 
ties for people of all ages is still as vast 
as ever. The challenge is not as many 
people are taking advantage of these 
opportunities, and that will have 
consequences for years to come. 

Back in the day — using current 
fashion cliche vernacular — young- 
sters could be found outside playing 
baseball, throwing a football, run- 
ning around the neighborhood, wad- 
ing in streams and turning over rocks 
to look for crawfish, fishing, hiking, 
camping, and hunting. This list is not 
all-inclusive, but you get the picture. 
Kids played outside, and when 
called in for dinner would scream, 

26 



"I'll be there in five minutes, Mom!" 
Not that I was like that, mind you. 
I'm just saying. 

Today it seems moms and dads 
have to practically push their fledg- 
lings out the door to get them to sniff 
Virginia's clean outdoor air. The an- 
swer to why would take volumes to 
produce. Perhaps some insightful 
suggestions to get people back out- 
side would be a better, more useful 
approach. 

Ways to Get Kids in Touch 
with the Outdoors 

There are easy and cheap ways to in- 
troduce or maintain an affiliation 
with the outdoors. There are also 
ways to ruin any chance of a person 
relating to the outdoors in the future. 
For example, let's take the bass 
fishing addict. He and his buddies 
participate in local tournaments. 
They fish during practice days lead- 
ing up to the tournament. They're on 
the water from sunup to sundown, 
trying to figure out what the fat large- 
mouths are up to in order to cash a 




Kids are pulled in many directions, but 
one look at these faces says that fishing 
boosts self-esteem while they have fun. 

check. Well, if they intend to bring 
their young sons or daughters on a 
trip like that, forget it. Nothing will 
turn off a kid faster than spending too 
much time casting and not enough 



details spVcmcally in Virginia, visit www.scoutin g v,rg,n 1 a.org. 
. Join the Girl Scouts; visit www.girlscouts.org. 

. participate inYMCA- or ^-^^'^t www.HuntFishVA.conn. 
. Take a kid fishing or huntmg.To learn more v sn r w 



. sr.r sx o- - «* -* * «— ° ut in the 

. Take y a a c d hild target shooting, plinking, or out to shoot skeet, trap, or 

u 4. +k» p. ,+urp Fisherman Foundation ( HooKed on n&nmy- 
* r :t°:;Tand t^r'etforts at www.futureKsher.an.org. 



r 

Mies 



time catching, especially if the weath- 
er isn't conducive to enjoying the day. 

Short, enjoyable outings are 
much more likely to "hook" young- 
sters, whether fishing or hunting. 
Choose times when the bream are bit- 
ing well, or when the shad run is in 
full swing in March and April. Keep- 
ing safety always at the top of the list, 
allow the child to run the trolling 
motor or start the engine under su- 
pervision. If kids are small enough, 
they can safely sit in front of you and 
hold the steering wheel with you. 
Anything to make them feel involved 
will aid in their thirst for more. 

Try spring gobbler hunting with 
a child, as few things are as exciting as 
calling birds and having them an- 
swer. If camping is your thing, opt for 
the spring and fall seasons when the 
weather is more comfortable, or be se- 
lective on summer days so you don't 
need an IV-drip to stay hydrated. 

Here's a tactic I employ. My son 
plays video games and loves doing 
so. I'm the bass-crazed fisherman, so I 
know I have to dial it down when I 
take my son out. During the last few 
outings I've let him bring along his 
handheld to play video games while 
on the boat with me. The stipulation 
is that he agrees his video time can 
only be for short increments. For in- 
stance, we'll start in the mid-morning 
hours and fish for bass, bream, or 
crappie and hopefully catch a few to 
maintain his level of interest. If he 
wants to take a break and crack open 
the video game, even though I might 
cringe inside, I'm fine with it. He'll 
play with that for 10 or 15 minutes, 
then pick up the rod and start chunk- 
ing-and-winding to catch something. 
To fishing purists, this might seem ab- 
solutely ridiculous, but I've found 
that it works well with my son and 
other kids I know. They don't get fish- 
ing crammed down their throat this 

OCTOBER 20 10 



way. I can fish for days on end, all 
day, but I can't expect that of my son. 
Nor should I. The goal is to dangle 
the carrot enough that they want 
more. If that means meeting in the 
middle, well maybe that's worth a 
try. 

Another option to partake of the 
outdoors is for families to pack a pic- 
nic lunch together at a nature park. 
Many locations throughout the state 
have ponds available in these set- 
tings. Before or after lunch, the fami- 
ly might hike along the trails, point 
out and identify wildlife together, 
fish, skip rocks, or any other get-in- 
touch-with-the-outdoors activity. If 
good memories are created, we stand 
a better chance of having youngsters 
want to continue to get outside. 

Short, enjoyable outings are 
much more likely to "hook" 
youngsters... 

Not all outdoors exposure for 
children needs to be the consump- 
tive type, such as hunting or fishing. 
It can be the "softer side" of the out- 
doors, such as bird watching, or 
using binoculars to identify flora and 
fauna, or star-gazing — anything — to 
get them outside of the house and in 
touch with nature. 



Po Your Part 

Well, don't just sit there! Do some- 
thing and make a difference in some- 
one's life. Helping a child stay on the 
straight and narrow is never an easy 
chore. This story is not about the evils 
of video games. It's about broaden- 
ing a youngster's view of the world 
outside the walls of the family room. 

Video games do not appear to be 
a fad. If they are part of your family's 
dynamic, perhaps purchasing a fish- 
ing or hunting video game is in order. 
Hopefully, some identification with 
the outdoors will take place. After 
playing a game of this genre, the con- 
versation on the boat or pier the next 
time could reference some aspect of 
the game's goals or graphic elements. 
There are several outdoors-oriented 
video games on the market, and if 
they can aid in getting kids outside, 
then so be it. 

Now is the time to act to cultivate 
a love of the outdoors with the 
younger generation. After all, they 
are the future leaders of Virginia. 
They will be making decisions about 
conserving and protecting outdoor 
resources — including wildlife. □ 

Marc N. McGlade is a writer and photographer 
from Midlothian. As a self-proclaimed angling 
addict, Marc travels across Virginia fishing for a 
variety of species. 




Th e Nature Conservancy 

in Virginia Celebrates 50th Year 



by Curtis J. Badger 



Th eNature (ej, 

Conservancy ^wP 

Protecting nature. Preserving life. 



When the state acquired the 
Big Woods tract in southeast 
Virginia in July, it marked a 
major milestone in a long-term rela- 
tionship that has protected tens of 
thousands of acres of ecologically sig- 
nificant land in the state. It just so hap- 
pened that this year is the 50th anniver- 
sary of the Nature Conservancy in Vir- 
ginia, and the role the conservancy 
played in protecting Big Woods was 
typical of the private /public partner- 
ship that has worked so well for 50 
years. 

Big Woods is a 4,400-acre pine sa- 
vanna in Sussex County, home of the 
historic longleaf pine and the endan- 
gered red-cockaded woodpecker. The 
conservancy has been purchasing 
parcels in the area for years, gradually 
assembling a large tract that straddles 
the Nottoway and Blackwater River 
watersheds. In July a significant por- 
tion of the land was turned over to the 
state to be managed jointly by the De- 
partment of Game and Inland Fisheries 
and the Department of Forestry. Big 
Woods Wildlife Management Area will 
be a 2,200-acre preserve managed for 
red-cockaded woodpeckers, bobwhite 
quail, and other species. Big Woods 
State Forest will be Virginia's only state 
forest in southeast Virginia, and its 
2,200 acres will be managed for sus- 
tainable forestry. 

Creation of the Big Woods pre- 
serves is typical of the partnership be- 
tween the state and the conservancy 
that has been so successful. As a private 
conservation organization, the conser- 



Celebrating J U t of Conservation 

in Virginia 



years 



vancy has the ability to quickly pur- 
chase key parcels when they become 
available, a quality the less nimble state 
government does not have. In most 
cases, the conservancy designs and im- 
plements a management plan, fre- 
quently in partnership with the state, 
and eventually many of the parcels are 
purchased by the state when funding 
becomes available. A notable exception 
would be the 40,000-acre Virginia 
Coast Reserve, a barrier island wilder- 
ness on the coast that continues to be 
managed by the conservancy some 40 
years after the first purchase. 

Over 50 years of conservation, the 
Nature Conservancy has literally 
touched every corner of the state. "Our 
first preserve was in Northern Vir- 
ginia," said Michael Lipford, director 
of the Nature Conservancy in Virginia. 
"Perhaps our most notable project was 
protecting the last of the coastal wilder- 
ness along the mid-Atlantic, and of 
course we've done a great deal of work 
in Southwest Virginia with the Clinch 
Valley program, which began in 1988. 
More recently, the Allegheny High- 
lands program has protected more 
than 9,000 acres on Warm Springs 
Mountain." 

Not a bad track record for an or- 
ganization that began in someone's liv- 
ing room and operated for 25 years 
strictly on volunteer energy. "The con- 
servancy in Virginia literally began in 
Elizabeth Bocock's living room on 
Franklin Street in Richmond," said Lip- 
ford. "State senator Fitzgerald Bemiss 
was there, as was attorney George 
Clemon Freeman, Jr. and Richard 
Pough, who was president of the Na- 
ture Conservancy nationally." 

After 50 years and tens of thou- 
sands of acres preserved, Virginia is 
still benefitting from that meeting on 
Franklin Street. □ 



28 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 




Journal 



2010 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current infor- 
mation and registration on workshops go 
to the "Upcoming Events" page on our 
website at www.HuntFishVA.com or call 
804-367-7800. 

October 1-3: Hunter Skills Weekend, 
Holiday Lake; (434) 248-5444 or 
http: / / holidaylake4h.com / . 

October 2: Women Exploring Loudoun 
Outdoors, (ages 14 and older). For 
more information: www.loudoun 
iwla.org. For registration: lcciwla_ 
vvelo@hotmail.com or call 
(540) 535-8891 or (703) 939-4089. 

October 7-10: Eastern Shore Birding 
and Wildlife Festival, Cape Charles. 

October 7, 9, 14, 16 & 19: An Introduc- 
tion to Photographing Birds with 
Lynda Richardson at Lewis Ginter 
Botanical Garden. Go to www.lynda 
richardsonphotography.com and 
look under 2010 Workshops or 
www.lewisginter.org and look under 
Adult Education for classes, or call 
(804)262-9887. 

October 16: 2020 Annual VHSFall 
Symposium, Virginia Zoo, Norfolk, 
9 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For more informa- 
tion: www.virginiaherpetological 
society.com. 

October 20-December 15: An Intro- 
duction to the World of Digital Photog- 
raphy with Lynda Richardson at 
University of Richmond's School of 
Continuing Studies. For more infor- 
mation go to: http:/ /scs.richmond. 
edu / sched u les-catalogs / think- 
again / schedule-film-photo.html or 
call (804) 289-8000. 

November 6: Northern Shenandoah 
Valley Birding Festival, Winchester, 
www.audubon-nsvas.org. 



OCTOBER 20 10 




Fall Turkey 
Hunt Day 




www.HuntFishVA.com/youth" 



QUAIL ACTION PLAN 



Department staff are working with a broad range of public and private partners to 
restore critical upland habitat needed by the bobwhite quail to thrive. Among the 
many initiatives underway are: 

Establishment of early succession wildlife focus areas across the state, in concert 
with the work performed by Soil & Water Conservation Districts in Virginia; 

Wildlife professionals assisting with delivery of USDA Farm Bill programs to 
landowners that benefit quail and other, early succession wildlife species; and 

Establishment of demonstration areas that showcase technical management 
tools put in place to effectively manage for quail. 

A new video, Answering the Colt, Virginia's Quail Recovery Initiative, highlights the 
work being done by many state and federal agencies to restore quail habitat in 
Virginia. This video provides information on managing private lands for quail and 
encourages landowner participation in the quail recovery effort. Landowners inter- 
ested in viewing the video can find it at www.dgif.virginia.gov. A limited number of 
DVDs will be produced. To request a video, or for more information about Virginia's 
Quail Action Plan, email DGIF biologist Marc Puckett. 

For more information about the quail plan, go to: 

www.HuntFishVA.com/wildlife/quail/ 

action-plan/quail-action-plan.pdf 

To contact a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist: 
marc.puckett@dgif.virginia.gov 




29 




by Beth Hester 

Two Stately Virginia Rivers 
Amidst Changing Times 

Down on the Chickahominy: The 
Life and Times of a Vanishing River 

by Jack Trammell 
2009, The History Press 
$19.95 
www.historypress.net 

River Runs Tree: Breaching the 
Rappahannock's Embrey Dam 

2004, The Free Lance-Star Publishing 
Company, Fredericksburg 
$15.00 

We focus this month on two books 
that by very different methods suc- 
cessfully document the life and times 
of two important Virginia rivers: the 
Chickahominy, and the Rappahan- 
nock. 

In Down on the Chickahominy: The 
Life and Times of a Vanishing River, au- 
thor Jack Trammell takes a modestly 
ethnographic approach, relying on 
his background in history and on his 
natural curiosity to uncover and 
record the river's almost forgotten 
natural, social, and cultural histories. 
He takes the reader on a lively jour- 
ney from early colonial outpost to 
modern community, whose beloved 
river faces ever-new environmental 
challenges. Trammell spent three 
years studying the changing Chicka- 
hominy River region and the natives 
and 'newcomers' who for genera- 
tions have fished, farmed, and lived 
along the river's banks. During his 
travels, he interviewed over 20 sub- 
jects and uncovered numerous, im- 
portant photographs and sketches 
that show the remnants of vanished 
native Chickahominy villages, for- 
gotten Civil War roads and bridges, 
giant perch, and the remains of the 



revered and once ubiquitous Chicka- 
hominy River boats. 

Like one of Jack's subjects wryly 
stated: "It's not history till someone 
cares about it." Well, Jack Trammell 
cared, and as a result, our knowledge 
of the Chickahominy region is all the 
richer for it. 

•k -k -k 

If you enjoy pictorial histories, espe- 
cially ones that go "BANG," then our 
second volume, River Runs Free: 
Breaching the Rappahannock's Embrey 
Dam is for you. It's a photo-essay that 
centers around the giant, quarter-sec- 
ond explosion that on February 23, 
2004 finally breached the Embry 
Dam — a relic of industrial progress 
that had harnessed the river's energy 
for multiple purposes. That dam also 
impeded its natural flow, altering for 
decades the character of the natural 
world that surrounded the famous 
watershed that begins at Chester 
Gap, then winds its way through 
multiple Virginia counties before 
ending 184 miles later at Stingray 
Point. 

As grassroots efforts to remove 
the dam — which had outlived its 
usefulness — grew, so did the opti- 
mism that migratory fish would re- 
turn to natural patterns of move- 
ment, that native grasses, bushes and 
small trees would begin to take root 
along formerly barren shorelines, 
and that future generations of an- 
glers would catch 'fat, row-filled 
American shad.' 

Engineering efforts to breach the 
dam involved the dredging of 
250,000 cubic yards of silt from be- 
hind the structure, the drilling of 240 
holes in which 600 pounds of plastic 
explosive had been packed, and the 
expertise of a cadre of Army divers 
from Fort Eustis. 

Shortly after noon on that chilly 
February morning, as Sen. John 
Warner prepared to push the ceremo- 
nial plunger, he quoted a passage 
from Ezekiel: "There will be a great 
multitude offish because these waters go 
there; for they will be healed, and every- 
thing will live -where the river goes. " □ 




-RWMW- 



"Before they hunt they 
do an online search." 



Youth 

Waterfowl Hunting Day 
October 23, 2010 




www.HuntFishVA.com/youth 



30 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 







Jt was 9 p.m. I had just settled 
down in my cozy bed, listening to 
"Three Dog Night" on the stereo and 
leafing through the latest issue of Vir- 
ginia Wildlife, when I heard a knock at 
the door. It was kinda late to have vis- 
itors, but I have been known to be 
somewhat of a party animal, so these 
types of interruptions are not entirely 
unexpected. 

When the door opened, who 
should be standing there but ol' Jones 
looking more forlorn than a lost bea- 
gle puppy on a rainy night. I mo- 
tioned him in and ol' Jones shuffled 
past me and flopped down in my 
favorite leather chair. "To what do I 
owe the pleasure of this late night 
visit?" I asked. "You aren't thinking 
of the two of us going coon hunting 
tonight are you?" 

Jones just sat there and then let 
out a deep sigh. "I have lost it," he 
said dejectedly. "I was down at the 
sporting clay range today, practicing 
up to get ready for dove season and I 
kept missing those right-to-left cross- 
ing shots — and I wasn't doing so 
good on the incoming shots either. I 
could not hit a bull's behind with a 
banjo! I have totally lost my shooting 
touch. How am I going to face my fel- 
low members at the Lonesome Dove 
Shooting Club's annual dove shoot 
this season?" he moaned. 

I started to tell Jones that it is 
pointless to worry about losing 
something you never really had, but 



one of the reasons we are man's best 
friend is that we know when to keep 
our mouths shut. Instead, I offered 
him something to eat, hoping to im- 
prove his mood. "I have some left- 
over pizza crust you and the missus 
tossed in the trash last night," I sug- 
gested, "and I still have some of that 
buffalo jerky you picked up while we 
were on that South Dakota hunting 
trip a couple of years ago. I think the 
expiration date might still be good." 

He sputtered, "How can you 
think of food at a time like this?!" not 
hiding his agitation. "Don't you real- 
ize that the members of the Lone- 
some Dove Shooting Club look up to 
me and my shooting ability? You 
know how old Doc Morrissette tries 
to imitate my skills!" Frankly, I had 
never seen the old doctor miss, so I 
thought he was a very poor imper- 
sonator of ol' Jones's shooting skills. 
Again, I kept this to myself. 

"I think you are looking at this all 
wrong," I opined in my most com- 
forting manner. "You think that a 
dove shoot is all about getting your 
limit! Well, for the young pups out to 
prove themselves it may be, but for 
us older dogs — we would rather find 
a comfortable spot in some shade 
while you blast away at feathered 
darts about a dozen-and-a-half times 
and call it a day We hate to go re- 
trieve those things in the hot summer 
sun, risking heat stroke for a mouth- 
ful of feathers and very little else!" 



"Say you knock down a half- 
dozen birds," I continued. "Just what 
can you do with six dove breasts? It is 
hardly worth firing up the grill!" 

I went up to ol' Jones, placed my 
paw on his knee, and looked him 
right in the eye. "Tell me truly," I 
asked, "What is the most fun about a 
good old southern dove shoot?" 

"Why, I believe it is the cama- 
raderie and the socializing after the 
shoot," Jones stated, as he was finally 
getting the picture. "It's the food, and 
the conversation, and catching up 
with old friends you do not get to see 
often enough." 

"Precisely," I agreed. "And do 
you talk about all the birds you shot? 
No. You laugh about the misses! In 
fact, the least popular person there is 
the one who brags about how fast he 
limited out. You will learn — the older 
you get — that you are just happy you 
can carry a shotgun, a dove stool, and 
a box of shells. You just want to see 
the folks there whom you have al- 
ways seen, and drink a toast to the 
memories of those who've seen their 
last dove shoot." 

"I am beginning to understand 
what you mean," murmured Jones as 
he walked to the door. "I shouldn't 
worry about the number of birds in 
the bag; I should learn to be happy 
with the misses as well." 

"Now you've got it," I replied as I 
closed the door behind him. "The 
way you shoot, you will be one of the 
happiest people there!" □ 

Keep a leg up, 
Luke 

Luke is a black Labrador retriever who spends 
his spare time hunting up good stories with his 
best friend, Clarke C. Jones. You can contact 
LukeandClarkeatxvww.clarkecjones.com. 



:> 






w Find Game 



To learn more about Find Game, visit 
www.HuntFishVA.com/hunting/findgame 



OCTOBER 20 10 



M©fi©JI 




by Lynda Richardson 



Bright Light? No Problem! 



rhis past spring I was on an as- 
signment in which I had to 
photograph my subjects in a boat in 
bright sunlight. Using a flash to 
lessen the shadows on their faces I 
was having a terrible time review- 
ing the histograms and images on 
my LCD monitor to see if the expo- 
sures were correct. It was really 
frustrating! The bright sun made it 
impossible to see anything on the 
LCD screen, even when I stuck my 
head and camera under the steer- 
ing console to try and darken my 
surroundings. It made the shoot go 
much slower than I would have 
liked and I vowed never to let it 
happen again! 

It was soon afterward that I dis- 
covered the Hoodman HoodLoupe 
Professional 3" LCD Screen Loupe, 
a glare-free LCD viewing loupe. 
The sturdy HoodLoupe is similar 
to a 35mm slide viewing loupe, but 
instead of viewing slides it is made 
to shade your digital camera's LCD 
monitor from surrounding light 
sources. 

Covered with easy-to-grip rub- 
ber, this device is made to fit any 
LCD screen up to 3 inches and al- 
lows the user to see the screen at a 1 
to 1 ratio. With a +/- 3 diopter ad- 
justment that works just like a 
binocular eyepiece, the Hood- 
Loupe's sharp German glass optics 
make it easy to view everything on 
the screen very clearly. The loupe 
sports a detachable lanyard so it 
can be worn around your neck. A 
small black case for storage in a 
camera bag is included. Not a bad 
investment at $79! Look for it in 
camera shops geared to profession- 
al clientele, as well as popular on- 
line sites like Hunt's Photo and 




The HoodLoupe works by shading 
bright light from the LCD screen so you 
can easily review your histograms and 
images. © 2010 Lynda Richardson 

B & H. For more information, check 
out www.HoodmanUSA.com. 

The next time you find yourself 
in an overly bright situation and 
frustrated at not being able to see 
your histograms and images, you 
might want to consider a Hood- 
Loupe. Bright light? No problem! 
Happy Shooting!!! 

You are invited to submit one to five of 
your best photographs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. 
Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, Rich- 
mond, VA 23230-1104. Send original 
slides, super high-quality prints, or high- 
res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on a disk and in- 
clude a self-addressed, stamped envelope 
or other shipping method for return. Also, 
please include any pertinent information 
regarding how and where you captured the 
image and what camera and settings you 
used, along with your phone number. We 
look forward to seeing and sharing your 
work with our readers. 



'yotfiOMIMfflMl 




Congratulations go to Leslee Breeden of King 
William for her beautiful environmental por- 
trait of a pileated woodpecker spotted on a 
tree in her backyard. Panasonic DMC-FZ8K 
Lumix digital camera at 12Xzoom, ISO 100, 
l/200th, f/4.0. Great spotting I 



32 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 







by Tom Guess 



Do you have any matches.,. 



Jf you're using a boat to hunt, 
you're a boater too. Nothing re- 
minded me of this more than a lesson 
I learned as a teenager growing up in 
Sussex County. 

Winter came early that year, with 
a light dusting of snow, a nip in the 
air, and a familiar smoky creosote 
smell wafting from nearby wood- 
stoves. A good friend of mine lived 
on a large farm in the county where 
we had permission to hunt and fish. I 
recall that he lived in a typical old T- 
shaped farm house. That house 
backed up to a steep hill with a slash 
of hardwoods before the land 
dropped off to an oblong-shaped 
pond about 5 acres in size. Trees 
hugged its shoreline around three 
sides. At the opposite end of the 
pond was an old dam that was 
washed out but still tended to by a 
den of industrious beavers. Beyond 
the dam was prime squirrel hunting 
land, replete with oaks and cypress 
that stood watch over the meander- 
ing run that led eventually to the 
Blackwater River. 

On this particular day we did as 
teenage boys will do and decided to 
make our squirrel hunt an adventure 
by throwing a canoe trip across the 
partially frozen pond into the mix — 
with snow on the ground. Granted, 
walking would have not only made 
more sense but would have taken 
half the time, not to mention sparing 
us the fate that awaited. 

We donned our hunting clothes 
and prepared our canoe for its voy- 
age across the icy water to our squir- 
rel hunting grounds. We were 
prepping for our trip as though it 



were a week-long adventure into the 
wilderness. Carefully, we placed our 
unloaded shotguns on the deck 
across some old throwable seat cush- 
ions; we put on our lifejackets; we 
paddled off! 

Shortly thereafter we found our- 
selves in the water. The temperature 
that day was in the upper 30s and I'm 
certain the pond was colder than 
that, because no sooner had I hit the 
water and gasped for air than I was 
making a beeline to shore — probably 
more on top of the water than in it, 
while managing to not lose my shot- 
gun. 

We made it to land and were met 
by my friend's dad. I remember 
being so cold and shivering so hard 
that I could hardly speak. But some- 
how I got out the question, "Do you 
have any matches... I'm freezing?" 
We all laughed because we were 
dripping wet. 



What possessed us to go out that 
day? I'm not too sure. But I do know 
that many hunters use a boat as a 
conveyance to go hunting, which 
makes them boaters. Remember, 
when hunting from a boat keep your 
guns unloaded and pointed in a safe 
direction. Be sure to dress warmly for 
the water temperature, since water is 
colder than air and you can lose body 
heat through hypothermia in water 
25 times faster than in the air. Be sure 
to take a boating safety education 
course as well as a hunter education 
course, and be sure to outfit your 
boat with all appropriate safety 
equipment. 

Until next spring — Be Responsi- 
ble, Be Safe, and Have Fun! □ 



Tom Guess, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), serves as 
a statewide coordinator for the Boating Safety 
Education Program at the DGIF. 




OCTOBER 20 10 



33 




J 



•JJJ-JJJij 




by Ken and Maria Perrotte 



Roast Duck with Orange Marmalade Glaze 



5ometimes the best intentions for a compli- 
cated, savory wild game dish are dashed 
by a dose of reality and the compromise be- 
comes a simple, yet flavorful meal. 

So it was with the carefully plucked wood 
duck we had thawed with aspirations of a com- 
plicated meal inspired by those foodie maga- 
zines. After a day spent gardening and 
attending to other household chores, Maria was 
tired and absent residual energy for assem- 
bling — let alone measuring — numerous ingre- 
dients. 

So, complicated yielded to simple. Ken cut 
the duck in half and sprinkled with a couple of 
spices. Maria topped it with a commercial jam 
and put it in the oven to roast; then, propped up 
her feet and enjoyed a nice glass of wine. 

Ingredients 

1 well-plucked duck, with skin intact 
Garlic pepper 
Lemon pepper 
Orange marmalade 

Preheat oven to 325°. Cut a plucked duck in half, 
lengthwise, just as you might cut a small fryer 
chicken so that each half has a leg, thigh, and 
breast. This also facilitates cleaning any remain- 
ing innards or pieces of shot that may have stub- 
bornly hung in when the duck was first dressed 
and plucked. 

Season lightly with garlic pepper and 
lemon pepper. Place in baking dish with skin 
side up. Coat skin liberally with orange mar- 
malade and bake uncovered for about 45 min- 
utes, depending on the size of the duck. Do not 
overcook. 



Put a few tablespoons of pan drippings in a 
small bowl, skimming off the fat. Stir in another 
teaspoon or two of marmalade and use as dip- 
ping sauce. 

A note about the types of ducks to cook with 
this recipe: We prefer "puddle" ducks whenever 
a minimalist approach is used for wild water- 
fowl. Wood ducks, teal, mallards, gadwall, and 
similar taste good this way. The rich flavor of the 
meat shines through the seasonings. Canvas- 
backs can be delicious, too, prepared this style. 

Diving ducks that have a substantial diet of 
fishy critters just don't seem to fare as well, al- 
though bluebills, ringnecks, and shovelers can 
be very tasty depending on what percentage of 
their diet is fish-oriented. But, if you adore the 
taste of a bufflehead or a hooded merganser, 
then by all means give them a minimalist try. 

Sides 

In the "keep it simple" approach, steamed baby 
carrots make a nice, quick side dish. Wash the 
carrots and place in microwave-safe container. 
Add a dash of salt and a little butter. Cover tight- 
ly and cook on high for a couple of minutes until 
crisp tender. 

Of course, wild rice is a natural accompani- 
ment with duck. Make a little extra of the sauce 
with pan drippings and sweep a forkful of rice 
across it on the plate. Ummm. 

A simple green salad, such as a few pieces of 
your favorite ripped lettuce and rings of red 
onion, some baby corn, and a light dressing 
makes another nice match. 

A glass of fruity merlot or a pinot noir adds 
to the enjoyment. □ 



34 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE www.HuntFishVa.com 




rv 



8 



$* 



Photo Contest Reminder 

The deadline for submitting photographs 
for the 2010 Virginia Wildlife Photogra- 
phy Contest is November 2, 201 0. 

Winning photographs will appear 
in the special March 2011 issue of the 
magazine. For more information about 
the contest and to view last year's edition 
online, visit the Department's website at: 
http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/ 
photocontest. 




It's once again time 



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calendar 



1 1 m *-i-i nil 



bargain at 
$10 each 



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As always, the calendar features spectacular photography and useful information to the outdoors en- 
thusiast, including hunting seasons, favorable hunting and fishing times, wildlife behavior, state fish 
records, and more! 



Make your check payable to 
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The apprentice hunting license serves as a first- 
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license and is good for 2 years. 

The license holder must be accompanied and di- 
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his or her person a valid Virginia hunting license. 

The apprentice license does not qualify the holder 
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the holder from compliance with Department regu- 
lations. A hunter education course must be success- 
fully completed to obtain a regular hunting license. 

A bear, deer, turkey license and all applicable 
stamps or permits are required in addition to the 
apprentice license. 

Previous Virginia resident and nonresident hunting 
license holders may not use an apprentice license. 

To learn more about the Virginia Apprentice Hunt- 
ing License, call (866) 721-6911 or log on to 
www.HuntFishVA.com. 



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